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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Making Axe Heads Float

Over and over, in the New Testament and the Old, we can see where "unnecessary" little miracles are performed; and I can only assume that they are there quite simply, and yet quite profoundly, to show the people that God cares- even about the little things.

One example I recently read of this is in 2Kings 6:1-7. These men are down by the Jordan River chopping logs, one guys axe head slips off, falls in the river, the guy freaks out, and Elisha the prophet comes over and makes the iron axe head float. And it just got me thinking, What if Elisha wouldn't do it? What if Elisha said no? What if Elisha compared the opportunities he's being given with the opportunities given to his former master Elijah?

And that got me thinking further, What if we wouldn't do it? What if we thought we were better served spending our time for bigger things; bigger than say making axe heads float?

I can't tell you how many times I've stepped out to do these BIG things- I wanted to be useful, I wanted to matter, I wanted to make a difference- and God assigns me to the "little"; showing me how all those efforts led me to a certain moment with a certain person. And we say that if we are faithful with little then we will be entrusted with much (Luke 16:10), but what if the "little" we've been assigned is the "much"? How can we afford to not be open to the very acts which opened us in the first place?

"You have been told your whole life that you can do whatever you put your mind to. So "dreaming big" has sort of become second nature for us. We are so constantly expanding our horizons, enlarging our territories, and looking toward a bright, shiny future of accomplishment that it's hard for us to see all the little stuff right in front of us..."Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom" (Song of Solomon 2:15).

It's the little foxes the ruin the vineyard. If you're always dreaming big—surveying your vineyard, plotting the next acquisition of the vineyard down the road, dreaming about all your plans for the estate—in other words, if you tend to always look beyond the vineyard and don't enjoy actually caring for the vines, you'll miss the pesky little foxes that are ruining what's right in front of you. You'll never be able to enjoy the wine of the vineyard if you ignore the little foxes. You won't enjoy the fruit of the vine if you don't tend to the nitty-gritty, down-and-dirty work of viticulture.

And here's what you might not yet realize: that real joy is found right there in the dirt, in the ho-hum task of tending the plant, in cultivating the terroir that will nourish the vines that yield the fruit. While you're imagining all of the outcomes of the vineyard and all the benefits to be reaped, what might be hard for you to imagine is that some of your best days—when you feel like all is right with the universe, and what you're doing means something, and you know why you're here, and your heart swells in gratitude and joy—well, those will be days when you're mucking about in the vineyard, tending to the little foxes." - Excerpt from a graduation speech delivered at King College May 2011.

I can't tell you how thankful I am for the people in my life who have been open to the "small". Those people blessed me beyond measure and kept me going. They were the truest living examples of the hands and feet of Jesus, constantly there to remind me that He cares. Had they not cared enough to make my own axe head float, I can only tell you that I doubt the revelation I carry of His love would be so alive. I don't want my pride, my misconception of big/small, little/much, or my big dreams and expectations to get in the way of the mutual joy that awaits in muchness of the little- in making axe heads float.